Could The World’s Biggest Publishers Bring Down Google?

November 9, 2009 by Lisa Oshima | Advertising, Enterprise, Monetization, Social Media

There’s an interesting debate afoot… Could News Corporation (Newscorp) trump Google by preventing them from indexing their various sites including Wall Street Journal, or would this bring down Newscorp by making its content less discoverable?  What would happen if the world’s biggest publishers joined forces together against Google and sold the ability to index their content to the highest bidder?  What would this mean for the Internet and profitability of the web’s biggest publishers?

Last week in an interview with Sky News Australia, Newscorp’s head, Rupert Murdoch, talked about the possibilities of charging for more of its content and/or  of preventing Google from indexing its content to encourage people to pay for that content (1st half of the video):

Google allows publishers to block themselves from being indexed by Google.  This begs the question, if another search engine – besides Google- is willing to pay the world’s biggest publishers to block Google and be indexed by them instead, could that 2nd tier search engine become the market leader.

Recently, on “This Week in Startups,” Jason Calcanis suggested that Microsoft’s Bing should consider incentivizing the world’s biggest publishers to get permission to index their content and block Google in exchange for fees:

If something like this happens, it could be detrimental to the largely free, and easily discoverable Internet.  However, it might also help to create a new monetization channel for struggling media entities that produce great content but are struggling to make as much money as the companies that are indexing their content.  Either way, the unintended consequences of an approach like this could be huge-  for the companies that pursue this strategy, for search engines, and for the Internet itself.

What do you think?

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